Although a Miami-Dade school teacher was happily married to a woman for years, Nicolette Solomon still felt like she couldn’t be herself under the “Don’t Say Gay” law and turned in her resignation, effective immediately. 

The Parental Rights in Education law, which bans classroom discussions on gender identity and sexual orientations in K-3, was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for Solomon, according to NBC News.

Solomon, 28, spoke about how her students at Key Biscayne K-8 Center grew to love her over the four years of teaching them, according to the Washington Post. She remembered a time when a boy handed her a letter writing, “So I have a secret … I’m gay!” The letter made her think about how she was probably the only LGBT teacher in the school.

Gelany Arriete, a 38-year-old third-grade teacher who was Solomon’s colleague, said that Solomon had a “special way of interacting with kids” that would set them at ease.

“I remember one incident, she did have a student who was gay,” Arriete said. “And she made him feel so comfortable, even though the other kids would make fun of him.”

For the first three years of her teaching job, Solomon hid the fact that she was married to a woman, scared of sparking “drama,” as she put it.

“I just felt like I’d be a good person to do that,” Solomon told the Herald. “No one else was gay at the school, you know — no one else knew anything about that.”

Solomon admitted she was a lesbian, happily married to Hayley Solomon, who works at a tech company.

Turns out, Solomon had a good reason for concealing her sexual orientation: she encountered discrimination from her colleagues from her time at the school.

One teacher, who figured out Solomon was gay after watching Hayley help Solomon cart supplies into her classroom, told her in the middle of a conversation, “I like you as a person, but I don’t support gay marriage,” according to the Post.

Another time in 2021 Solomon went to a colleague for advice about a trans student’s request for a gender-neutral bathroom, and the staffer’s face darkened.

“Let me give you a tip,” the woman said. “Don’t talk about anything LGBT. Don’t do it. Parents can get upset. Don’t do that.”

Feeling terrified, Solomon didn’t protest. All she said was “Sure.”

That wasn’t the final straw, however. The final straw came from her encounter with her supervisor when they implied that she would face consequences if she took a week’s leave to receive fertility treatments because her and Hayley were trying to have a baby, the Post reported.

After that, Solomon felt it was no longer possible to be lesbian and a teacher in Florida.

A Miami-Dade schools spokeswoman named Jaquelyn Calzadilla was asked about these incidents, in which she replied that the school district has policies that “prohibit discrimination and harassment” and that the school board “strives to provide a workplace and educational environment free from” both. She also said that the city “has never required, either directly or indirectly, that teachers in same-sex marriages refrain from mentioning or acknowledging their marriages in class.”

Solomon made it clear that she would never teach again, at least not in Florida.


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